Logan Paul, the YouTuber who fell from Google’s grace after posting video of a dead man hanging from a tree in Japan’s so-called suicide forest, attempted to retrieve his career with a sit-down interview on Good Morning America today. “I’m a good guy who made a bad decision,” he told GMA‘s Michael Strahan, a quote all but certainly designed as a mea culpa.
“I can and will and am going to learn from it and be a better person,” Paul said in his first TV interview since the December 31 post that led YouTube to drop Paul’s widely watched videos from its Google Preferred premium advertising slot. At one point during the interview, he claimed the purpose of the controversial video was to “show the harsh realities of suicide.”
Since the controversy, Paul has met with the head of the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and says he now preaches the lesson that “crisis passes.”
“For anyone suffering, I think it’s important to know that you are not alone. Why I say it’s important for me is, this is the hardest time in my own life. I’ve never been hated by the entire world before.”
With 16 million subscribers, Paul was easily one of the most popular of YouTube stars, particularly among kids. Though he told Strahan he made videos for his own 22-year-old demo – “It’s not necessarily like I’m making content for kids” – Paul conceded that a large percentage of his followers are, in fact, kids.
The interview – watch it below – might not win any new fans for Paul, despite his apologetic overtures and bid for sympathy (“Ironically I’m being told to commit suicide myself. Millions of people, literally.”) Pushed by Strahan on whether the backlash hurt his “bottom line,” Paul said, “Want to know the real answer? It hurts but it’s not like I’m drowning. I try not to live my life thinking about money cos money doesn’t make me happy, creating and making other people happy makes me happy.”
Fair enough, but Paul couldn’t help betraying the callowness that led him to film, edit and post the video of a corpse.
“I believe it happened for a reason,” Paul told Strahan, a comment that, even if interpreted as being about the controversy and not a man’s suicide, requires considerable generosity to hear as anything but self-centered. “And that reason was so I could take this experience, learn from it, and spread the message the right way about suicide prevention and suicide awareness.”
Watch the entire interview here: